Old town, Bern

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  • Old town
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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Einstein House, Kramgasse 49

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 25, 2012

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    As soon as he could afford it, Einstein moved from the Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32 about half a kilometer up the hill to Kramgasse 49, where he and Mileva lived from 1903 to 1905.

    Actually these are both the same street in the center of the Old Town of Bern -- the name of the street just changes about halfway up.

    Their apartment in the Kramgasse has recently been "restored in the style of that period to reflect Einstein's stay in Bern" and is open to the public. The opening hours vary according to the time of year, but from April to September the house is open daily from 10am-5pm. Individual admission (as of 2008) was six Swiss Francs (= four Euros), but students, children and senior citizens only pay 4.50 Swiss Francs (= three Euros).

    Second photo: Einstein's desk (or one like it), where he wrote his revolutionary 1905 paper on the light quantum and the photoelectric effect (for which he was many years later awarded the Nobel Prize in physics), as well as his doctoral thesis on a new determination of molecular dimensions, two papers on Brownian motion and two on special relativity -- the second of which contained his now-famous formula E = mc2 showing that Energy is equal to Mass times the square of the speed of light.

    Third photo: One of the text panels in the Einstein House, with a quotation from Stephen W. Hawking, who was the first person to be awarded the Einstein Medal (in 1979): "The special theory of relativity has stood the test of time because it explains why the speed of light appears to be the same to all observers, and it describes what happens when objects move at speeds nearing the speed of light."

    Fourth photo: A photo showing Einstein with his first wife, Mileva Maric.

    Fifth photo: Here's my favorite book on Einstein: Subtle is the Lord… The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein by Abraham Pais, published 1982 by Oxford University Press -- just don't ask me to explain the equations, okay?

    1. Entrance to Kramgasse 49 2. Einstein's desk (or one like it) 3. Text panel in the Einstein House 4. Einstein with his first wife, Mileva Maric 5. My favorite book on Einstein
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    Kornhaus Bridge

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 25, 2012

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    The Old Town of Bern is on a high ridge on a peninsula formed by a long bend in the Aare River.

    The Kornhausbrücke is a high bridge connecting the Old Town to the newer districts such as Breitenrain and Breitfeld across the river to the north.

    The bridge is 382 meters long. It was built in the late 19th century (after decades of discussion) and was inaugurated with a large festival in June 1898.

    Second photo: Kornhaus Bridge from the north, looking toward the Old Town.

    Third, fourth and fifth photos: People riding bicycles on the Kornhaus Bridge.

    1. Kornhaus Bridge as seen from the theater 2. Kornhaus Bridge from the north 3. Cycling on the Kornhaus Bridge 4. Cycling on the Kornhaus Bridge 5. Cycling on the Kornhaus Bridge
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    Kirchenfeld Bridge

    by Nemorino Updated Dec 25, 2012

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    This is a high bridge connecting the Old Town of Bern with the Kirchenfeld district across the river to the south.

    It was built from 1881 to 1883, mainly of cast iron, and was inaugurated in September 1883.

    Second photo: On the Kirchenfeld Bridge, looking north.

    Third and fourth photos: Cyclists by the casino, going south onto the Kirchenfeld Bridge.

    1. Trams on the Kirchenfeld Bridge 2. Kirchenfeld Bridge, looking north 3. Cyclist by the casino, going south 4. Cyclist by the casino, going south
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    Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32

    by Nemorino Updated May 13, 2012

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    In February 1902 Albert Einstein wrote to his fiancée Mileva Maric: "It's delightful here in Bern. An ancient, exquisitely cozy city, in which one can live exactly as in Zurich. Very old arcades stretch along both sides of the streets, so that one can go from one end of the city to the other in the worst rain without getting noticeably wet. The homes are uncommonly clean, I saw this everywhere yesterday when I was looking for a room."

    Later in the same letter he wrote: "I have a large beautiful room with a very comfortable sofa. It only costs 23 fr. This is not much, after all. In addition, 6 upholstered chairs and 3 wardrobes. One could hold a meeting in it."

    And he enclosed a sketch of the room with letters marking the position of the "little bed", the "little picture", the "magnificent chair", the "magnificent mirror", the "chamber pot & table", etc. [This letter is in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, published 2006 by Princeton University Press, page 191.]

    In the winter semester of 1961/62 I lived in the same house on the same floor (maybe even in the same room??) and for the same reasons: it was available and cheap.

    Second photo: Looking uphill towards Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32, which is the house with the green shutters in the middle of the photo. This is theoretically a pedestrian zone, but residents are allowed to drive and park here, so the street has largely degenerated into a parking lot for motor vehicles.

    Third photo: The entrance to Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32.

    Fourth photo: This plaque notes that "Einstein wrote his paper on molecular forces 1902 at Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32, in his first frugal room in Bern." The full title of that paper was "On the Thermodynamic Theory of the Difference in Potentials between Metals and Fully Dissociated Solutions of Their Salts and On an Electrical Method for Investigating Molecular Forces." Einstein himself later dismissed this early paper as "worthless" and said he would never have published it if he had known that two other scientists had already covered the same ground -- but physicists today seem to consider it a useful warming-up exercise for the explosion of revolutionary papers that Einstein was to write a mere three years later, in his miraculous year of 1905.

    Fifth photo: Fountain in the Gerechtigkeitsgasse. Gerechtigkeit by the way means "justice, fairness, equity", so I liked to think I was living in Justice Lane or Equity Lane.

    1. Einstein lived here. (So did I.) 2. Looking uphill towards Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32 3. Entrance to Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32 4. Plaque about Einstein at Gerechtigkeitsgasse 32 5. Fountain & parked cars in Gerechtigkeitsgasse
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    Zunfthaus zu webern: Guild of weavers

    by hojasdehierba Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This house at Gerechtigkeitsgasse was the seat of the guild of weavers and it is easy to see, because there is a figure of a black and golden mythological animal, a griffon, on its front. Nowadays there is a restaurant at this house with the same name, Zunfthaus zu webern.

    Esta casa en Gerechtigkeitsgasse era la sede del gremio de tejedores y es facil verla, porque hay una imagen de un animal mitologico (un grifo) negro y dorado en su fachada. Hoy en dia hay un restaurante en esta casa con el mismo nombre, Zunfthaus zu webern.

    Near Justice Fountain
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    the Einstein-Haus & museum

    by globetrott Updated Jan 12, 2011

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    The Einstein-Haus & the Einstein-museum
    Albert Einstein used to live in the house Kramgasse 49 in the 2nd floor between 1903 and 1905 and nowadys you will find his appartment with furniture of that time as a small museum.
    click here for the opening-times of the museum !
    .
    More infos about the Einstein-Haus

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    Inside the townhall

    by globetrott Updated Jan 11, 2011

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    Here you can see some photos of the large hall on the 1st floor (USA:2nd floor) inside the townhall of Bern. Maybe you are lucky and there are no official conferences while you are at the townhall and you are able to take a look inside and see its great gothic interior.

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    Rathaus : the townhall

    by globetrott Updated Jan 11, 2011

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    Berner Rathaus / the townhall of Bern was built in late gothic style between 1406 and 1415 and when you are lucky you might be able to take a look inside its main hall in the 1st floor: just step up the big stairs in front of the building - see some pics of the hall in my next tip !

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    The former Waisenhaus & the Oppenheim-Brunnen

    by globetrott Updated Jan 11, 2011

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    The former Waisenhaus is the police-station now.
    In 1657 this building was built as a public home for orphants and in front of it you will see nowadays the so-called Meret-Oppenheim-Brunnen, made by Meret Oppenheim, a surrealistic swiss artist and that fountain is quite funny with water running down on a cascade made of grass and moss.

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    Käfigturm

    by globetrott Updated Jan 11, 2011

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    Käfigturm - dont confuse it with Zytgloggeturm although they look quite similar. Käfigturm is at the beginning of Marktgasse, when you get there from the train-station, and Zytgloggeturm is opposite of it - at the end of Marktgasse.
    Käfigturm has just a small clock, while the one of Zytgloggenturm is filling almost its entire facade.

    K��figturm in Bern K��figturm in Bern K��figturm in Bern
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    Lauben - the arcades of Marktgasse

    by globetrott Updated Dec 26, 2010

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    Marktgasse is the main street of Bern and on both sides of the street all of the houses have covered arcades like on my photos and they are called "Lauben" . A wide pavewalk is totally covered and will include even garden-restaurants under these arcades.
    Marktgasse is also a pedestrian zone almost everywhere and so you can walk easily from one side to the other to do your shopping !

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    Taking a Walk Through Old Town

    by riorich55 Written Apr 10, 2009

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    On a rainy day in early October we spent an afternoon in Bern arriving from Paris before taking the train to our final destination of Lauterbrunnen. We walked through the old town area from the train station to the Bear Pits and then back again. It was a Monday and it seemed that many of the stores were closed, but we did window shop and bought a few boxes of chocolate.

    We enjoyed looking and taking pictures of the many statues that are every in the town. We also enjoyed the flowers that seemed to be on every building.

    View of the Main Street in Old Town Bern Old Town Building with One of the Town Statues Another View with the Town's Mascot (Bears)
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    Beautiful

    by alayres Written Nov 3, 2006

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    I didn't plan to sleep in Bern, so I just passed by train and stopped on the way for some hours. Although the little time, I could see how wonderful the old town is. It really deserves more time, since it's beautiful.

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    Nydeggkirche: site of foundation

    by hojasdehierba Written Mar 13, 2006

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    This simply serene and beautiful church was built over the ruins of Berchtold V first castle, the site where Bern was founded. It dates back from XIIIth century and, although I liked very much the outside, I could not help feeling disappointed when visiting the inside of the church: it has been completely renovated in XXth century and it lacks of the charm that its exterior look promises

    Esta iglesia sencillamente serena y hermosa fue edificada sobre las ruinas del primer castillo de Berchtold V, el lugar en el que fue fundada Berna. Data del siglo XIII y, aunque me gusto mucho el exterior, no pude evitar sentirme decepcionada cuando visite el interior de la iglesia: habia sido completamente renovada en el siglo XX y carece por completo del encanto que promete su aspecto exterior.

    Nydeggkirche from Rosengarten
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    Catholic kirche near the Rathaus

    by hojasdehierba Written Mar 13, 2006

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    St. Peter und Paul kirche was the first Catholic church established in Bern after Protestant Reform. It is located just beside the Rathaus (Town Hall) and it was built in a kind of revival of early Gothic style (XIXth century). The ceiling paintings and the stained windows are art-nouveau. It serves as a Cathedral to Swiss Catholic Church.

    St. Peter und Paul kirche fue la primera iglesia catolica establecida en Berna despues de la Reforma Protestante. Esta situada justo al lado del Rathaus (Town Hall) y fue construida en una especie de revival del estilo gotico temprano (a finales del XIX). Las pinturas del techo y las vidrieras son, mas conforme con su epoca de construccion, de estilo art-nouveau. Sirve como Catedral a la Iglesia Catolica suiza.

    St Peter und Paul Kirche
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